It may not be easy to stand up for a terrorist, but I’ll do it.
You have to remember that the objective of terrorism is to overthrow a government and destroy the rule of law. If you yourself subvert the rule of law in pursuit of terrorists, then one can argue that the terrorists have won.
If you try to subvert the rule of law after the terrorist has been captured, convicted and served his time, then in some small way, you are no better than the terrorist.
Fateh Kamel is an Algerian-Canadian convicted in France of assisting a terrorist organization in their plot to bomb Paris Metro stations. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and was released in four for good behaviour.
Mr. Kamel is a naturalized Canadian citizen, so France took the obvious step of deporting Mr. Kamel to Canada, and the man is currently living in Montreal. Peter MacKay, the deputy leader of the Conservative Party, feels that Mr. Kamel is a threat to Canada, a threat to America, and wants him deported to Algeria.
Peter MacKay’s words:
“I suspect strongly that the Americans are feeling somewhat vulnerable when they hear about lax security in our country or when they hear about a known individual with this type of dangerous conviction and background who’s now living in our country.”
It’s hard to have sympathy for a convicted criminal such as Mr. Kamel, but the fact remains that Mr. Kamel is a Canadian citizen. He did not lie about himself when he applied for and received Canadian citizenship. He has been tried and convicted for crimes committed after receiving his citizenship, and he has served his time.
If Mr. Kamel is not through with his terrorist activities, intelligence will pick this up, and he will be caught and tried again for those new crimes. But until then, the rule of law states that he has a right to stay in Canada and he has a right to live in peace.
Conservatives like Mr. MacKay like to believe that they stand for law and order in this country, but by prosecuting Mr. Kamel beyond what the rule of law requires, they show themselves to be hypocrites. Mr. Kamel may be a terrorist, but he is Canadian, and his citizenship gives him some basic rights that we as Canadians must respect lest they become meaningless.
At which point, the terrorists really have won.